USA Today

Saints injuries an issue, but team has solid backup plan

Steve Geller
September 21, 2019 - 2:06 pm

It’s only week 3, but it sure feels like the Saints have already endured a full season’s worth of challenges.  The biggest being to quarterback Drew Brees, who is out for an unspecified period of time following surgery to the thumb on his throwing hand. That news has certainly overshadowed the fact that linebacker Alex Anzalone and wide receiver Keith Kirkwood have been placed on injured reserve.

We were all aware the 1st quarter of the schedule was going to be a major test for the Black & Gold, but the bumps and bruises that come from playing the game are making things a lot more difficult. The good news is that the Saints appear well prepared for the situation. 

Their back-up QB plan might be the best in the NFL. Teddy Bridgewater is a former 1st round pick and pro bowler, while Taysom Hill has been compared to Hall-of-Famer Steve Young by his head coach.  Neither one is Brees, but there are a few other teams who would take Teddy or Taysom as their starter right now. While Sean Payton isn’t naming a starter for Sunday in Seattle, expect Bridgewater to be the main man under center, while Hill gets a handful of snaps at QB just like if Brees were playing.

The Saints also have an answer for Anzalone being out.  The team jumped at the chance to add depth at the LB position by trading for Kiko Alonso, benefiting from him being unhappy in Miami since the Dolphins appear content with tanking season. Alonso is 29 years old and totaled 355 tackles, six forced fumbles, eleven pass deflections, five interceptions and one sack the last 3 years.

And, while Kirkwood’s absence is a hit to the WR group, he was not being relied on weekly to be a difference maker like Michael Thomas is.  The Saints brought up another undrafted talent in Lil’Jordan Humprhey from the practice squad to take Kirkwood’s place on the active roster. Humphrey didn’t cause heads to turn during training camp practices, but sure did show up come game time even if it was just the preseason catching all 4 passes thrown his way for over 100 yards and a touchdown. The 6ft5, 225-pound target could be an under the radar mismatch nightmare.

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